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How important is rear wheel braking in the winter? /using a 3 speed as a winter bike

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How important is rear wheel braking in the winter? /using a 3 speed as a winter bike

Old 05-10-18, 11:09 AM
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SeraphimF
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How important is rear wheel braking in the winter? /using a 3 speed as a winter bike

Asking because I'm considering getting a dedicated winter bike (my third overall ) and think an old three speed is a good candidate aside from the fact that they have steel wheels which brake horribly when wet. Ideally, since its just gonna be a total junker, I'd just want to replace the front wheel and get some better in the wet brake pads for the rear, put studded tires on it and call it a day. I'm wondering if winter riding technique somehow makes having really super secure rear brakes more important? Seems hard to imagine but I don't have much fishtailing experience. Has anyone gone a similar route with a 3 speed for winter? I see them super cheap on CL often.
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Old 05-10-18, 12:23 PM
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Nothing wrong with having a three-speed for commuting if you don't have a lot of elevation change. Lots of people commute on single-speed. But having steel rims, especially when it's wet, is not a good idea. Sure, you could probably get away with it. If you can foresee everything that is coming your and engage your brakes early enough then really, brakes are more or less superfluous, aren't they? But I sure wouldn't want to count on my foretelling skills to get through my commute. Alloy wheels are cheap, even rear ones. I'd look for one to replace the steel one.
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Old 05-10-18, 03:03 PM
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If you're on a slippery surface, braking with the front brake is far more likely to cause you to go down than braking with the rear brake. It's not an ideal setup.
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Old 05-10-18, 04:49 PM
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Thanks for the responses; steel wheels are out!
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Old 05-12-18, 04:45 PM
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In snow and ice, and especially when descending, the rear brakes are the only brakes you should use -- even with studded tires. Steel rims are a bad. I still have memories of hitting the brakes every minute or so to keep the rims dry while cycling in Seattle.
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Old 05-12-18, 04:57 PM
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Does the bike have coaster brakes?

Perhaps the rear rim brakes are redundant.
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Old 05-13-18, 02:21 PM
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Drum brake hubs (in 3,5,4&8 speed ) & coaster brakes

mean the rims can still be steel, because the braking is not at the rim.. but the hub..
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Old 05-16-18, 01:46 PM
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I know it has been said twice already, but let me say it once more because it is such a solid tip:
the rear brakes are the ones you need to think about.

And, of course, do think beyond brakes.
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Old 05-17-18, 09:50 AM
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dunno, I don't stop much ...
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Old 05-22-18, 02:46 PM
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I disagree. I rarely use my rear brake on any bike, and I don't use it hard, either. The point about slipping in the wet is a fair one, and there are times when I will favor the rear brake over the front, but they are rare. That's because I ride on streets and roads mostly. When I'm on gravel and in a turn, for example, I'll favor the rear. I don't ride often when there is snow or slush on the ground, so I would be OK with crappy rear brake, but if you think you'll ride a lot on slippery surfaces, then you'll want a rear brake that works well.
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Old 05-29-18, 04:44 PM
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Above reply posted 5/22/18, 3:46 PM; it is now 5/29/18, 5:42 PM. IMO, winter is over after a one week hiatus on the Winter Cycling Forum. Time to take off the studded tires.
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Old 06-30-18, 03:01 PM
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I'm interested to know more about the reasoning behind rear braking vs front braking.

There's a VERY big downhill on the way to the gym that actually I worry about taking even in warm weather. Do you also recommend rear braking in that situation?
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Old 06-30-18, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
I'm interested to know more about the reasoning behind rear braking vs front braking.

There's a VERY big downhill on the way to the gym that actually I worry about taking even in warm weather. Do you also recommend rear braking in that situation?
It's all about the amount of friction you have between the tires and the road. On dry pavement in a straight line I favor the front, but when on a turn I favor the rear so that all the friction force on the front is being used to keep the steered wheel on track. The front brake provides something like 60% of your stopping power and will stop faster then using just the rear.

On wet or slick pavement same idea, I do not want the front to slip. For me once the front slips stability and controllability are greatly compromised! (As in, I slam to the ground unless I'm really on my game) However the rear does not affect steering or stability if it slides about (in a general sense, and usually any looseness can be controlled), so I use the rear especially in an emergency stop.

Things I don't need to think about for another five months!!!
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Old 06-30-18, 05:40 PM
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I use the front brake almost exclusively. I only use the rear when traction is bad.
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Old 07-02-18, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
I'm interested to know more about the reasoning behind rear braking vs front braking.

There's a VERY big downhill on the way to the gym that actually I worry about taking even in warm weather. Do you also recommend rear braking in that situation?
The front brake is the one that'll stop you when it really matters. Important to get comfortable on it. Straighten your line before hitting the brakes, and push back against the handlebars to offset the braking forces. Slide your butt back in the saddle -- to maintain center of gravity -- when braking hard on a downhill.
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Old 07-08-18, 10:30 PM
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Some tips in video format:

And wear a helmet, gloves ... Practice.
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Old 07-12-18, 02:26 PM
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^^ aint even raining^^

My 30+ year old Drum brake hubs work so smoothly, I have them on my bike with the studded tires .. I use both.. brakes.. always have..

Skidding when I cannot put my foot down on anything but Ice , is to be avoided..
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Old 07-21-18, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SeraphimF View Post
Asking because I'm considering getting a dedicated winter bike (my third overall ) and think an old three speed is a good candidate aside from the fact that they have steel wheels which brake horribly when wet. Ideally, since its just gonna be a total junker, I'd just want to replace the front wheel and get some better in the wet brake pads for the rear, put studded tires on it and call it a day. I'm wondering if winter riding technique somehow makes having really super secure rear brakes more important? Seems hard to imagine but I don't have much fishtailing experience. Has anyone gone a similar route with a 3 speed for winter? I see them super cheap on CL often.
If it's a good 3-speed hub, e.g., Sturmey Archer AW, it's worth rebuilding onto an alloy rim. I have two wheels like that. Now, the English 3-speeds had 40 spoke rear hubs, but it's not unthinkable to find a new 40 spoke rim out there. The American bikes (Schwinn) usually had 36 spokes, but also a lot of cheap Shimano hubs that might not be worth salvaging.
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